image of Before I wake

Recommended Netflix Original Movie: Before I Wake (No Spoilers)

Netflix produces some strong original content in the horror genre, both for television and film. I watch so many horror movies on Netflix, they tend to bleed together. The tropes, the characters and their motivations, and even the settings, for example, don’t always stick out in the crowd.

I think atmosphere is another area–maybe the most common, in fact–where horror directors, albeit due to genre conventions, are going for the same effects. Claustrophobia, terror, the unnatural… In Before I Wake, director Mike Flanagan sets his film apart by introducing true human sadness, portrayed effortlessly by Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane and the uber-talented child actor Jacob Tremblay.

The word literary comes to mind when I consider this movie. The film works much like some of the best horror literature does: things start off normal and rather beautiful, and then descend into chaos and terror. I rarely even stream movies with a PG-13 rating because I assume it’ll be a typical made-for-theaters-and-teens thriller that Hollywood pumps out.

The PG-13 rating works in Before I Wake. 

Maybe the perceived lack of profanity and violence the rating implies softened me up for genuinely lovable characters and their story. Flanagan sets up the characters and the delightful supernatural/magical realist elements with grace. The more expected horror elements are also deep-seated in character, and are genuinely disturbing as opposed to cheap jump scares. The juxtaposition of beauty and horror (which I assure you is terrifying for parents) dazzles here.

I’ll say that the premise and “twist” at the end are magnificent and emotionally resonant. The idea of dreams and nightmares come to life isn’t original in the literal sense, but Before I Wake makes it feel fresh and executes it sublimely. This movie put me into a pretty passive, trusting state, so I can’t say that I tried to figure out what the IMDB reviewers meant by “amazing twist” as I watched, but I promise it’s breath-taking. It isn’t the mind-blowing, world-overturning twist that people tend to imagine. Instead, it’s a tear-jerker and a perfect illustration of the innocence of children. That’s coming from a cynical, crappy horror film-jaded person.

I saw some reviewers complain about certain plot points not making sense or nitpicking on some of the film’s minutiae. But I encourage you to watch Before I Wake with the mindset of a child. Or at least the warm amber simplicity of the childhood lens you think back to when “adulting” really sucks. Allow yourself to spend some time in a place where things can be magical and terrifying.




Recommendation: Unacknowledged, a documentary on Netflix

Unacknowledged is a documentary film centered on Project Disclosure and its founder Dr. Steven M. Greer. Ostensibly, this film is about the UFO, or UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon) as John Podesta and other Washington insiders now refer to it and extraterrestrial visitations. The claims are backed by witness testimony and interviews from former officials and experts, as well as overwhelming amounts of declassified documentation from within the military industrial complex (MIC).

The film provides perspective on power in Washington

The film is more important as an expose on the power of the MIC. For instance, a motif in the film is that the most powerful people, from presidents to four-star generals are denied access to this information because they are not deemed “need-to-know.” The MIC running Black Budget operations with the corporations that manufacture the technologies of war and aviation are the ones truly seated in power. A few powerful names on the list of people denied entry into the exclusive “Know” include the following presidents:

  • JFK
  • Reagan
  • Carter
  • Clinton
  • Obama

Unacknowledged makes conspiracy theorists look good

I appreciated what this film did for the poor public image that a lot of conspiracy theorists suffer from. That is, we are dismissed as kooks who label the Government, in its entirety, as the perpetrators of certain conspiracies. As if it were possible or fair to lump the millions of federal employees or corporate employees as one boogeyman. An equivalent would be people who rage against the “1%” as if it were a secret society. A unique quality of this film is that it addresses specific though technically anonymous players in the conspiracy, and in fact tells its audience that presidents, senators, and members of congress, aren’t out to get you… at least not in this situation, anyway.

Some of the most thought-provoking evidence that Dr. Steven Greer presents documents CIA psychological warfare operations (Psy-Ops) on the American public.  Two topics alluded to in the film that I use in my own fiction are predictive programming and false flag operations. Here’s a brief explanation of the two concepts:

  • Predictive programming is when the media, like news, Hollywood, literature, are all used to desensitize the mass public to an idea. The point being that when the idea comes true it’s almost expected.
  • False flag operations are when governments attack themselves in order to then garner support from the masses of their country in rage against a common enemy.

The big(gest) question

The film poses the question of whether or not the Deep State and MIC is holding extraterrestrial disclosure close to the vest because it’s their ultimate false flag event. After all, sources in the film state that Black Budget military operations involving the advancement of aviation technologies have progressed at least fifty years beyond what the public is told. They fake an alien invasion either to cripple America and the world. Or in the aftermath of say, using politics to completely destabilize us and then faced with the threat of a chaotic World War Three, try to unite all of us around a common enemy: aliens!

For true believers in ET, hopeful that they’ll “come in peace,” the film makes the next point abundantly clear: the anti-gravity technology needed for interplanetary travel would be 40,000 times more advanced than the technology that gave us the atom bomb. Therefore if ET was hostile, we would’ve been blown to smithereens already, because destroying Earth would be equivalent to the difficulty a baby has stuffing a chubby little foot in its mouth for them.

Where you can watch Unacknowledged

Check out the trailer below. It’s available through this link for $4.00, but it is free on Netflix.